Numbers 561. Report of Colonel William L. J. Lowrance, Thirty-fourth North Carolina Infantry, commanding Scales' brigade.
AUGUST 12, 1863.
SIR: On the evening of July 1, after a severe engagement on the part of the brigade, led into actin by its commander (General Scales), I was informed that the general was wounded, and it devolved upon me to take command. At this time I found the brigade on the extreme left of the division, and numbering in all about 500 men, without any field officers, excepting Lieutenant-Colonel (G. T.) Gordon and myself, and but few line officers, and many companies were without a single officer to lead them or to inquire after them. In this depressed, dilapidated, and almost unorganized condition, I took command of the brigade, and remained at the point where I found it until after nightfall, when I was ordered to the extreme right of the line; and, having arrived at the place designated, I sent out a strong picket to the front and right, so as to guard against any surprise, and then ordered the few who were still in ranks to stack arms for the night. It was then 1 o'clock. At early dawn on the morning of the 2d, I was ordered to a position on the right of and on line with the artillery, which left me still on the extreme right of the line, and was ordered to hold position at all hazards; and, being an important point on the immediate right of our artillery, we its only guard, and with no support, I considered it hazardous in the extreme, taking into consideration our weakness as to numbers and the importance of the position. So I threw out a strong line of skirmishers, extending fully one-half mile to the right, inclining to the rear, which was placed under command of Lieutenant [A. J.] Brown, of the Thirty-eighth North Carolina troops, who most gallantly held the line against several strong skirmish lines thrown against him until 1 p. m., at which time the brigade was relieved by General [R. H.] Anderson's division; and then I was ordered to move by the left flank and join my division, which I did, and was formed on the second line, and joined on the right of General Lane; s brigade, where we remained until the morning of the 3d, when, in conjunction with General Lane's brigade, I was ordered to the right again, where we were placed under command of General Trimble, and were formed on the second line, in rear of Major Poague's battalion of artillery; and here we remained at least one hour, under a most galling fire of artillery, which I am proud to say the men endured with the coolness and determined spirit of veterans, for such they are. Then we were ordered forward over a wide, hot, and already crimson plain. We advanced upon the enemy's line, which was in full view, at a distance of 1 mile. Now their whole line of artillery was playing upon us, which was on an eminence in our front, strongly fortified and supported by infantry. While we were thus advancing, many fell, but I saw but few in that most hazardous hour who even tried to shirk duty. All went forward with a cool and steady step, but ere we had advanced over two-thirds of the way, troops from the front came tearing through our ranks, which caused many of our men to break, but with the remaining few we went forward until the right of the brigade touched the enemy's line of breastworks, as we